collectives, shops that can take the profit that would go to pay for some boss's luxury items, and instead use those resources to help start more collectives. As the network grows in size, it can do more for its members, and will have a greater ability to shape local affairs. People seldom work as hard and as happily as when we're working for ourselves and those close to use, and when the work is a meaningful expression of our values and politics. We may not be able to change the world overnight, but we can help each other to change our lives. In the late 1800s, anarchism was a mainstream political idea among American workers and progressive activists. Since then, it has been slandered by association with senseless violence, made to seem idealist or crankish, pushed to the fringes. In contrast, this pamphlet has tried to demonstrate that anarchism is especially relevant in our time, both in guiding us as we formulate our aims, and in bringing us together around a sound foundational principle, so that we know not only what we are against, but also what we're fightingyor. contact: New 48er c/o Tom Noerper POB 5325 Evanston, IL 60204 firstname.lastname@example.org 8. What are we trying to do here?! Anarcho-syndicalism and the new anti-capitalism - suggestions for goals and tactics. 1 . Introduction: Getting our bearings, clarifying our vision. "How can we ever get anywhere if we don't know where we're trying to go?" Since anti-globalization activists disrupted the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, it has been undeniable that there is a new anti-capitalist movement taking shape, or at least there is a new phase of activism. With clear goals and some agreement on strategies and tactics, our movement may be able to take advantage of the current moment in history, in which American corporate capitalism has been so clearly revealed to so many to be morally bankrupt; however, the history of radical politics in America has been one of factions and splinter groups, of issue-specific groups reluctant to work together. The anarchist perspective has a great deal to offer the anti-capitalist movement, because rather than prescribing specific positions on given issues, rather than urging a "revolutionary" program to which others must conform, we espouse the principle of non-coercion, a foundation principle which should guide all people of conscience in figuring out what we want for our world, and how ought to go about getting it. 2. Common Sense for the 21 st Century: The failure of American democracy. In America, government of the people, by the people, and for the people has perished. Both Vincent Bugliosi (the lawyer who prosecuted Charles Manson) and Gregory Pallast (journalist for the BBC) have published books that explain clearly how the Republican Party and the U.S. Supreme Court subverted America's electoral process to put George W. Bush in the Whitehouse. Without even considering the unsoundness of the Supreme Court decision or the specifics of election fraud in Florida, anyone can see the contradiction in the acknowledged fact that Al Gore received more votes, but Bush became president. Many ordinary people have asked how this could have happened, in our "democratic" political system. It is our job to see that the discussion includes an analysis of the realities of power in America. In his presidential farewell speech in 1961, Eisenhower warned the nation, In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. With Bush, Cheney and most of their cabinet coming from the corporate boards of petroleum companies, it has never been so clear 5. Getting there, making the best of what's here. Of course, while there are a few anarchist coops and collectives out there, this is far from being the dominant paradigm for the American work place. While this was the basic organization for millions of Spanish workers for several years during the Spanish Revolution, anarcho-syndicalism is basically unknown to many anti-capitalist / anti-globalization activists. Even if the idea were to spread, what can we do in the meantime? Because of their basis in principle, both anarchism and syndicalism both a better way of living while still under capitalism, and strategies for pursuing radical activism. Last summer (2001) at a Chicago meeting of the Campus Greens, Jello Biafra (former singer for the band Dead Kemiedys) repeated what Malcolm X had said, but in the anti-capitalist context. He encouraged people to avoid buying anything retail whenever possible, and to go to locally-owned, "mom & pop" businesses when we must do retail shopping. We would also do well to set up more barter markets and other types of alternative economy. Biafra' s second suggestion was that we learn from the "Republican Revolution" of the 1980s and 1990s, when they were able to gain control the Congress and of many local administrations. The popular arm of the Party, the Religious Right, are a small but very active and very vocal minority in this society. During the Reagan years, they began taking control of local politics by filling up school boards, gaining uncontested county jobs, etc., eventually gaining enough control of local politics to dominate congressional elections. This is the kind of grassroots political machine that voided tens of thousands of African Americans' votes in Florida in the presidential election. Finally, we must ask what kind of work-life we want for ourselves. For some, it will make the most since to work as a wage-slave in order to organize others and to affect the capitalist machine. However, our main strategy should be to establish networks of worker-owned T. interested in building power and resources within the Black community. King's strategy has made achievements, while Malcolm X's approach has been neglected, perhaps because it threatens to disrupt the capitalist economy. 4. What do we want? No more bosses, starting today! If anarchists reject all government as being based on force or the threat of force, what do we propose? We want a society founded on the principle of free association, not a social order based on coercion. Who can deny that our aim should be a society based on the principle of non-violence? Given the failure of the American republic, we know that allowing individuals or small groups to accumulate extreme wealth while others are needy creates a situation of economic necessity - a form of coercion. Also, if we consider the Soviet revolution even from Lenin's time, or Chinese communism, we see that communism without an explicit commitment to anti-authoritarianism collapses into totalitarianism in a way barely distinguishable from fascism. Guided by our principles of non-coercion in social-political relations, and just distribution of resources in economic relations, we might arrive at anarcho-syndicalism. In syndicalism, the workers own the shop in which they work. This contrasts with capitalism, and with communism as we have know it, in which the "Party," - another ruling elite - controls the means of production and makes all decisions. In anarcho-syndicalism, each single work site is owned and run by the people on that site. Various shops and industries are organized into federations, which share the common interests of feeding, clothing, and housing themselves. Because there is no possibility of any individual owning the shop and profiting from the labor of dozens or even hundreds of other individuals, the influence of self-interest is limited. The power of any individual or small group is limited because decision-making and resources are distributed widely across many people. that big business runs this country. How did the multi-national corporations become so powerful in a society supposedly based on the democratic ideal? In an anarchist analysis, we must first consider that a democratic republic is still a type of government. Every government rules by force, or the threat of force, whether it be monarchist, fascist, communist, socialist, or a so-called "democracy." In each case, one group of people makes the rules and decides how resources will be allocated. The second group, ordinary people, are compelled to participate in society according to the rules that have been set; for instance, through paying taxes or through a military draft. Thus, even in a democratic republic, a ruling class emerges who tax the public and then hire police to control that public. From an anarchist perspective, we reject democracy in principle, even when it is working according to the ideal. Of course, little in life follows its ideal very closely. How did American democracy fail in actuality, by its own terms? When the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, it was influenced by two main groups. The "Jeffersonians" are usually thought of as having been concerned with protecting individual liberty from the powers of government, a view associated with Jefferson's language in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The "Hamiltonians," after Alexander Hamilton, are thought of as wanting to limit taxation, to ensure that America would be a good place to do business. In their time, neither Hamilton nor Jefferson could have imagined the power of the trans-national corporation after the industrial revolution, at the end of the 20 th century. The U.S. Constitution was intended to preserve a balance of power among federal government, state government, and individual rights. In this context the corporation, with its massive concentration of wealth and resources, makes up a new entity unforeseen in 1787. Given the power structure institutionalized in the U.S. government, big business has been able to gain control of the affairs of the nation, defeating the intent that the government should administer the interests and will of the greatest number of people. What is central to this failure is the massive accumulation of wealth by a small elite. It is this great disparity between the wealthiest Americans and ordinary people that creates the tremendous power differential. According to the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, this was a problem in the Athenian democracy, as well. 2. The failure of the left/liberal coalition to save the Republic: Reformist goals and tactics. By the second half of the 20 th Century, a liberal / left coalition had formed in America, somewhat in opposition to the corporate/conservative elite. This group, made up of trade unionists, pro-choice feminists, gay and lesbian activists, environmentalists, ethnic minorities and their advocates has failed to limit the power of big business and the Right Wing, has failed to hold the American government close to its democratic principles. What happened? If we think of the protest movement in the late 1960s, in the Civil Rights and Anti-War era, it seems that the aim of leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. was to compel the elected leaders to act in good conscience. Using strategies such as massive rallies and civil disobedience, activists expressed their intense objection to the government's policies, with a clearly implied threat about what might happen to their job in the next election. The problem with this "reformism" is that it did not change the underlying power structures that maintained racism and poverty at H. home, and imperialist policies abroad. A protest movement is a social phenomena that does not occur every time it is needed, and so when no one is looking, the bad guys go back to their dirty business. At best, even if there is sustained public attention and activism around an issue, there is still a built-in conflict between the corporate/conservative elite and the common good. Built-in conflict is also a fundamental problem with trade unions as we know them today. Among progressives, a great deal of energy is spent organizing new union locals and supporting unions in their "struggle" against management every time a collective bargaining contract expires. As Marx pointed out, whenever workers labor in a shop owned by some one else, we lose both the fruit of our labor, and control over our own lives. Current trade unions assume this horribly alienated situation without question, while leftist activists afflicted with "laborism" seem to idealize and romanticize a vision of never- ending struggle, in which workers are always the slaves of machines and bosses, always fighting for basic needs such as a "living wage" and health care. Certainly this describes reality for many ordinary Americans, and for the actual and virtual slaves in other countries who produce consumer goods for American markets. But, should this be our ideal? 3. Doctor King and Malcolm X: Very different approaches. While Doctor King was organizing massive demonstrations, Malcolm X was advocating another kind of response to the American power structure. He saw that people who were neither black nor Harlem residents would open businesses in Harlem. The money that Black people spent in these businesses was taken away from the community, and too many resources flowed out of the community, thus contributing to poverty among Black people. Malcolm X repeatedly urged his audiences to spend their money at businesses owned by members of their own community. Malcolm X was not interested in lobbying white politicians for better welfare programs; he was 5.